Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Falling off the wagon

Yes, we do have a wagon, no I did not actually fall off it...yet.

How does one blog about voluptuous when one feels neither voluptuous nor simple?

I am really concerned about the world right now. There is violence everywhere, and these economic times lead me to believe that a permanent change is coming to our world. In some ways I have both embraced and anticipated this change, but it is scary and sad to me that our world is moving so quickly toward destruction.

Do I think most of us will 'survive' of course, please remember I am not an armegeddonist...and if I were 15 years younger I would not be so nervous. I feel like when this empire finally does fall (or irrevocably changes-history does not lie) I will be young enough to suffer for many, many years, and too old to build any kind of new wealth. No wealth is not the goal of life, but it sure makes it easier to be an elder in this country. Plus we are childless, no one will take care of us if we become infirm.

Our investments in the stock market, retirement, even my husband's pension are really just burning money. If we actually burned it, at least it would keep the house warm. For now we have chosen to invest in knowledge. Medical knowledge, carpentry, husbandry, agriculture, homemaking skills. If we're right, we will be an asset to the community coming next, if we're wrong, well then we got smarter, and we saved some money, but that's optimistic in my opinion.

Change is necessary, but how many people realize that we will not live like our parents, or even grandparents, it's more like great grandparents...if we're lucky. Moving out of a consumer culture is a good thing right? But the revolution is being run by smart phone...Hmmmmm.

So I am not abandoning my charge to prove that modern homesteading is for everyone, not just wingnuts, but my heart is filled with fear of the unknown today.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

September 2, 2011

Allow me to tell a story now. It’s just past 11pm. We have my sisters and my nieces here as usual, plus the people and pets that come with them, who have joined us for the holiday weekend. I am in bed, thinking about the day and how much homework I have to do in the morning. I can hear my sisters singing at the campfire. They range in their song choices from sweet to sacreligious, but I can hear them, I can make out their individual voices like they are my own. I can see the glow of the campfire, and smell the comforting smoke. I taste tears in the back of my throat, and I remember.

The year 2000, I moved back to the Twin Cities from my failed experiment called “college”, with no direction and no hope. I fell into despair. I was enticed to go to a spiritual retreat and participate in “The Sacred Hunt”, for lack of a better description, this is an intense ritual/ceremonial/physical experience where fasting and physical activity are engaged in order to seek the divine. I planned from January to participate in this event in August of that year. The week of the event, I fasted, I prayed, I went to the sweatlodge, I cried, I anguished, I thought about driving home. And then it was time to hunt. The elder who gives the blessing before the hunters go to the woods for their travail, grasped my shoulders and said, “Do this for your Sisters.”

I know that she did not just mean those heathens outside with the angelic voices, she meant all women. You see I’ve been a big sister for a long time, and I’m good at it. This is what I bring. Some women are good wives, good mothers, good daughters, I am not; I am a Sister.

The trappings of these elaborate type of ceremonies no longer hold an appeal for me. They have been hijacked by people who don’t care much or want to have understanding and knowledge about them. The elder who looked into my eyes and spoke the words of the Divine to me, is actually a drug addict, still revered in some similar groups, but essentially pitiful. But the truth of my Sacred Hunt remains.

My sisters singing to the dark night, by a cozy fire, living in harmony and always with me, is my secret dream. Serving and sacrificing for my world of Sisters is my life’s work and calling.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Slumber Party

So, DH and I do not have AC in our bedroom, or really any other part of the house. It has been literally 100 degrees here in the upper midwest all week and we are melting away. Sunday, DH was catatonic from the heat, Monday was my turn to crash, Tuesday the electricity was out until just before bed, so we put a window unit in a room that we typically use for storage. DH is sleeping on a girly day bed that makes him look like a giant, I am sleeping on a massage table. AND I'M HAVING THE TIME OF MY LIFE! Bedtime has been like the slumber parties of my youth. I read him the funny parts of the book I'm into right now, he tells me what is going on with his goofy FB friends.

He wakes me up in the morning with kisses and jokes and tries to make the dog attack me. He makes coffee and dire predictions about the weather. I tell him about my crazy dreams of apple orchards and being chased by rednecks who sing songs for me.

When we sleep in the same bed we try really hard not to wake or disturb each other, but these separate beds, all Ricky and Lucy style, have turned us into giggling dorm mates and its pretty hilarious.

Mature love is much different from new love. You have to measure the comfort and ease that is gained against the panty ripping passion that was once our reality. My panties have gotten much more expensive since then, but a few still get sacrificed now and then. DH and I do not have the perfect marriage, but I do trust him to be gentle with my heart and spirit, and he makes me laugh everyday, like really laugh, til we're both sore and teared up.

It is interesting to look back and discover just how closely aligned our goals, dreams, and even politics have become. We are definitely still distinct people, but I have never trusted anyone so much.

So on to our little farm. The chickens are producing more eggs than we typically eat, but not so many that we can be reliable sellers. We'd like a few more layers, but this is ok for now.

We moved the kittens to the barn this week, so far so good, but everyday I wonder if I will find them all alive and well. I know this is my childlike love for them and also years of being a housecat owner with a natural distrust of the outdoors for cats.

The weeds in the garden have taken over, but we have enjoyed food from the garden with regularity. There has been lots of rain and lots of sun, hot though we may be, we are blessed in this way.

Berry season is starting to taper off, but the heat plus my work schedule have kept me from having any kind of meaningful harvest. If they hang on til next week, I might still have a chance.

Voluptuous Update: My husband really loves me, when I don't slip out of his grip because it's too hot!

Simplicity Update: We have new renters for the city house, we hope they are really happy here!

Monday, July 11, 2011

World View

I just finished reading The Dirty Life a memoir about the first year on a farm by modern homesteaders who created a whole diet CSA in upstate New York. After reading this I was inspired to put in some potatoes and work on the beet and bean beds.

I also forgave myself for not having all of the skills and energy to match my ambitions. I feel much more "hurried" in every aspect of my life lately. I am having issues with feeling old. Not decrepit or anything like that, but certainly hemmed in by the years left in my life. Not everything is possible anymore. It is time to refine my desires, and focus on what is really important and let the rest go. This is much easier said than done, much, much easier.

I am finding myself for the first time with REAL regrets. Like anyone, I have wished things have gone better or differently than I had wanted, but I've never had the realizations that I have now of having made bad choices for myself.

The world is not as full of wonder as it once was, the possibilities are no longer infinite. One of the chapters in the book I read was about how freeing it was for the writer when her world shrunk from the East side of NYC to the 15 acres of her little farm and the predictible turning of the seasons. I guess I always wanted both, hence my blog name...

I want to be a world citizen AND a locavore, highly integrated into her community. I don't know how this is possible. In my search for roots and home, I find myself in the place "in between". I don't live in my farm community, and I don't live in the cities anymore, I don't commune with people in either place. I am trapped, and there is no way out of it, except through it.

This begs the question about what my world view should be, and if it is as simple as choosing? More importantly what is my role, where is my place in said world view? Life certainly did not turn out the way I thought it would be, not that it ever does, but I am really sad about it. Disenchanted doesn't quite cover it. I think I still feel like that world I imagined does in fact exist, and it is still going on without me. I have not decided if it is better to still believe and feel left out, or to stop believing altogether.

Sometimes I wish I was easier to please, I'm sure my loved ones wish this as well.

I am sure that this will work itself out. In the meantime, I am learning how to can and eating something of the farm everyday, and that is pretty great.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I love Summer, Sisters, and Wonder Woman

Summer is easily the best thing that ever happens to me. I embrace it like a lover and try to pull every possible experience and sensation out of it until we must part again.

Spent the weekend with my sisters and friends per usual, Sister J brought the most yummy pasta and pie, it was great!

The garden is in, and much bigger than I anticipated, hopefully I'll be able to care for it all.

DH and I got a free house but we have to pay to get it moved. Once in place, I am looking forward to decorating it and starting a small farmstay business. The farm is so lovely, I am exctited to share it.

It is amazing to me that in 17 months I will graduate from midwifery school and finally be doing my life's work. I live with a lot of regret and sadness that I did not know my calling until I was well into my adulthood and all of the complications that entails. I do think their are some benefits to my circuitous route, but I am, as usual, way too hard on myself. My preceptor says the same, I drive myself over tiny flaws that she doesn't even notice.

I'm thinking a lot these days about relationships, how they are born, live, expand, and even die. And how we as humans tend to blame ourselves when they run their natural courses. My mom always used to say that 90% of what people do is about them. It is just so true. And that's ok. Everyone is on their own journey, and they have to act on their own behalf. I think it's safe to say that 90% of the state of one's own life is because of them too; if we follow the above logic to it's reasonable conclusion.

My mom got me a Wonder Woman shirt for my birthday, she's the perfect hero, and it's kind of a long term family inside joke. I'm going to wear it to births to remind my clients how amazing they are.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Victorious Return

I am back at the farm this week, for the first time since before the holidays. Let me tell you, it's difficult to start a fire when the kindling is under 2 feet of snow and ice.

We had a good time though.

I need to get my life back oriented to the farm, but am not looking forward to being cold and alone again. The wood stoves need to be stocked every 2 hours, or they go out. This makes sleeping, visiting neighbors, shopping, and school much more difficult than they have to be.

But I can smell spring in the air, and I am filled with hope.

Our dear neighbor Rose, told me I could shower, eat, and even sleep at her place, so that is an option until things get settled at our place. We'll see.

In the meantime, I have bees coming in a month, and a garden to get in a month after that.

Voluptuous update: We had a party this weekend:hearty beef stew, card game, good friends and family.

Simplicity update: My clever husband melted snow for wash water...never occured to me, I have so much to learn....

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Garden Planning

With weeks of bitter cold and months of snow still stretching out before us, I am longing for the garden season. Counting the weeks until I can walk out in the dirt barefoot is pretty unbearable. So I am participating in the indoor sport of garden planning.

May blessings fall upon the seed catalog people who send their catalogs just in time to give hope to the frozen north.

We are focusing on perennials and the orchard this year. We are also thinking about growing hops for the bees this year. I have already orders 15 pounds of bees and 5 queens!

I am hoping to stop by the Shrine to Guadalupe outside of LaCrosse this week to bring the Lady some roses and pray for spring.

Friday, January 7, 2011

False Start

Well, I am declaring it an official false start.

We were snowed OUT of the farm for most of the month of December. Last week we had to hire a front end loader to dig out the nearly half mile driveway. This weekend we are in the city again due to the bitter cold.

The construction did not go as fast as we anticipated and the money did not last as long.

The good news is that I love my job working from home and DH and I are both finishing our degrees this year. I have not declared 2011 to be anything special yet, but I have to say that I'm happy to see 2010 go.

The seed catalogs have been piling up in the mailbox and I am inspired to plan my garden for this year. We have not thrown in the towel, we're just back at the bottom of the hill and heading back up once the snow melts.

We brought the chickens and the barn cats to the city, it was truly a rescue mission. We lost one chicken to one very bored dog the first week they were here, sad, but what can you do? One of the chickens is still laying eggs, which surprises and delights me. The barn cats are taking to the lazy life of house cats with no problems whatsoever.

School starts up again next week and I will be on the road at least two if not four days a week through April.

In preparation for "take two" DH and I went to a "Meet Up" for people interested in self-sufficiency. Sounds safe enough, right? Well, it was, interesting.

We met with about 8 other strangers at a coffee shop. It started out great with a conversation about solar power, but it became apparent that no one else in the group is as far along on the journey as we are. It was cool though, everyone had something to contribute.

Then began the conspiracy theories...according to the vocal members of the group, and not argued by the silent members, the following things are happening right now:

1. Aliens are killing the birds and fish.
2. The government is taking over NOAH and trying to control the weather.
3. The government is allowing Monsanto to sterilize all of the soil in the US, so that crops will only grow if we purchase supplements.
4. The city of Minneapolis is going to ban backyard gardens within city limits.
5. Farmer's markets are also going to be banned in the US.
6. We all will be dependent on people who can make candles and soap in the near future.

I tried to guide the conversation back to skill building and current projects and asked flat out if preparing for the fall of civilization was the purpose of the group, but no one came with me. DH stood up and announced we were leaving when a latecomer showed up and sat down next to me, with his Glock on his belt.

I am renewed with a great zeal for the need for a blog/account of modern homesteading that does not include armageddonist ravings. I hope that the happy, grounded, educated, and successful homesteaders/farmers will get their stories out into the public.

So many people have this dream, to simplify, to live better with less; less consumerism, less stress, less time devoted to the daily grind.

While I like to make candles, and plan to make soap this year, I am not doing it because the post-apocalyptic populous will have to bow to me or stay dirty. Folk crafts, and homesteading skills help me to feel grounded and connected to my ancestors. If they make me a "Mad Max" Queen, well that's just a bonus.

Voluptuous update: My new year's resolution is to wear something homemade or vintage every day this year.

Simplicity update: I got two turkeys, twelve pounds of cheese and three boxes of dry milk from an online barter site!